The progressive development of information and communication technology is accompanied by rapid advances in the field of digitalization. Industrial production processes are being increasingly networked, automated and digitalized. This is changing industry's demand for specific qualifications: the new forms of production require augmented and alternative skills.
Under the leadership of St. Pölten UAS, the study "Application-Based Survey of Industry 4.0-Relevant Qualification Requirements and Their Effects on the Austrian Educational Landscape" raised the question of what qualifications employees need for Industry 4.0. Existing training and further education offers were illustrated in the form of an education map. Three-quarters of all respondents from companies consider digitalization to be relevant for their business.
Comparison of supply and demand
"We questioned company employees about what qualifications companies would like to see in their employees and the importance of particular technologies or soft-skills. We compared the results with the status quo in the training and further-education landscape in Austrian universities, universities of applied sciences and non-university institutions. This produced the content-related and geographic needs for future educational offers", explained Thomas Moser, Head of the study project as well as the Digital Technologies Research Group at St. Pölten UAS.
„For companies and every individual employee, qualification will be the key to finding their place in a dynamic work environment characterized by digitalization and automation", said study co-author Sebastian Schlund from the Institute of Management Sciences at the Technical University Vienna.
Industry 4.0 as evolution instead of revolution
Seventy-five percent of operational experts surveyed said that Industry 4.0 is relevant for their companies. Only four percent consider it not at all relevant. "The operational experts see changes through Industry 4.0 in the company as a whole and along the entire value chain. They view Industry 4.0 as an evolution rather than a revolution", said Moser. According to Moser, changes ensue in all work profiles and not just in technical professions that work directly with machines.
New qualifications in demand
With Industry 4.0, the demand for specific qualifications is changing. According to the study, the call for IT-skills such as IT-security, mechatronics, and the ability to deal with digital technologies will increase. In addition to technical qualifications, process management, project management, interdisciplinarity, communication and teamwork are also increasingly in demand.
On the international level, there is a wide difference in demands. "Depending on the country, there is a fundamental difference in the development paths for digitalizing and automating industrial value chains; according to which, different priorities are set in automation, robotics, big data, data security or other issues", explained Franz Fidler, Head of the dual-study programme Smart Engineering at St. Pölten UAS and co-author of the study.
Details of the study:
The study "Application-Based Survey of Industry 4.0-Relevant Qualification Requirements and Their Effects on the Austrian Educational Landscape" was funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie - BMVIT), coordinated by St. Pölten UAS and conducted in cooperation with the Institute of Industrial Sciences (Industriewissenschaftlichen Institut - IWI), the Fraunhofer Institute for Labour Economics and Organization (Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation - IAO) and the Accord Group ECE Austria GmbH.